The world transitioned to digitality in these past years. We Are Social reported that, in 2021, 60.1% around the world are online. This reality is also true for churches. Due to the pandemic, the church rapidly adopted live streaming, zoom meetings, and online worship service. Furthermore, a survey noted that 74% across all denominations opted to accept hybrid (online and in-person gathering) church services.
Calibrating between in-person and digitality, I contend that local church members ought to support and attend faithfully (online or not) to their local church services especially online. Local church members are to listen to their local church sermons rather than scrolling through social media and looking for other church live streams.
Why do Christians need to stop church-scrolling (digital version of church-hopping)?
Here are some reasons why you need to remain to your local church worship sermons extending to local church programs like family worship, reading worship guide, etc.
- Your local pastors/elders are thinking of their church members whenever they prepare their sermon every Sunday. Meaning, you may have been inspired or fed by other church online sermons, but your spiritual food dedicated for you and your whole church is given by your local church pastors. Yes, your pastor thinks about the church–that includes you. (1 Peter 5:2)
- You belong to that local church. As one body, the church must function as one with all the parts of it. (1 Corinthians 12:-27)
- Listening to other church sermons might bring confusion (in contrast, you might judge others easily). Hence, there is a significance to clarify with your pastor/s and asking them questions about faith. Indeed, a mature faithful follower of Christ can discern what is biblical or not. But there is a reason why elders are given to the church for protecting and preserving the truth of the faith. (Titus 1:9)
- Most of those who “scrolls online sermons” are looking for what they want to hear rather than what God wants them to hear. Moreover, Christians are called not just to accept easily what they have heard but they are accountable to be critical, to check, and to read the Bible. (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:22-25)
- Lastly, navigating through digital reality amidst the pandemic, this is the best time for the church to manifest the Spirit of unity. Being a good steward where God has put you as a member of your local church. (Ephesians 4:3-6)
I hope and pray that local church members (hybrid, online, or not) will be faithful to where God called them to serve and be part as one body of Christ. We are all sojourners of this world where digitality is part of incarnational reality.
Some side notes before ending this post.
- Do not compare or criticize your church for not having a live streaming option or anything digitally advance. Instead, support them either by finding another way like mobile calling or through equipping the church with digital technology skills.
- I am not against live streaming sermons. Our church does it since August 2020 (hybrid service).
- There’s nothing wrong with listening to other church’s livestreaming. Just be attentive and know your duty as part of a local church.
- It is easy for us to do “church-scrolling” and be drifted away so please be responsible and accountable with one another.
- Let us use these digital technologies as instruments of God for His own glory and for the benefit of His Church for the advancement of Kingdom realities.
Let me echo Walter Wilson (The Internet Church, 2000), Jonathan Armstrong and Darrell Bock (Virtual Reality Church, 2021), on what Andrew Careaga (E-Ministry, 2001) said:
Virtual connections is the ‘Romans Road’ network of this era, connecting the body of Christ in ways never before possible.Careaga, 2001
Soli Deo Gloria!
More about Digital Theology:
Arceno, John Paul. “Is Virtual Baptism a “Real” Baptism?” In Technology and Theology ed. W. Anderson. Delaware, USA: Vernon Press, 2020. Chap 9.
________. VR Philosophy and Christian Teleos based on the Film “Ready Player One” entitled “Utopian Virtual Reality in Ready Player One: Responding with Real Hope and the Christian Teleos.” In Film, Philosophy, and Religion ed. W. Anderson. Delaware, USA: Vernon Press, forthcoming August 2021.
Bock, Darrell; Armstrong, Jonathan. Virtual Reality Church. Moody Publishers, 2021.
Wilson, Walter. The Internet Church: The Local Church Can’t Be Just Local Any More. Nashville, Word Publishing, 2000.
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